Our man Tom Fitch reports back from another week in never-never land…
In last week’s news, Ross Brawn hailed, among other benefits, the improved accessibility to drivers that simracing has offered fans over the last months. To quote F1’s managing director of motorsport: “in esports you’ve got a much better insight into the drivers’ personalities and their characters and their nature.”
Those statements are rumoured to have caused some headache in Casa Verstappen, as the oldest brat of the household, Max, revealed himself as the bully of simracing. Verstappen had teamed up with fellow F1-driver Lando Norris and sim racers Greger Huttu and Atze Kerkhof for the sim race of the week, the virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans in collaboration with WEC.
Their Team Redline entered #20 LMP2-car held the lead for the largest part of Saturday afternoon. Until, with Max behind the wheel, it collided with a GTE Porsche. The Team Redline car speared of the track, hit a barrier and was severely damaged. A technical issue with rFactor 2, the sim of choice for the Le Mans-race, was presumed to may have been at the root of the incident.
What will remain in the memories of race-fans around the globe is Max’s rant following the accident. An accident that could, in essence, also be seen as Mad Max simply failing to avoid a back-marker.
Verstappen could, among other sweet mouthing, be heard saying: “what a fucking joke this,” and “rFactor can fuck off.”
Since the 2018 Brazilian Grand Prix, it obviously is no secret that Max prefers the plain term “idiot” over the Kennedy Toole approved word “dunce”. And that the term “pussy” is on occasion higher in his pecking order than, say, “Nabokov ballerina”.
The antics in the Interlagos garage following the 2018 GP also implied that, should Max be a character in classic history, he would rather be a charging Brutus than a meditating Plato.
Does Max prefer iRacing over rFactor 2? One would think so as a similar incident with Lando Norris in a Porsche Cup-race at Daytona using the iRacing platform did not result in similar verbal abuse.
Lando Norris clearly claimed that he did not touch Max’ car. And as us oldtimers know, you simply do not argue with the tears of a girl.
So the spin must have been caused by a glitch in the game, right? Why else would Max spin on a straight line? Still, there was none of the infuriated bashing iRacing on that occasion.
Does that call for questions?
But, the worst of it is that Marcel Offermans, head honcho over at rFactor 2’s developer Studio 397, ended up apologizing for the incident. Marcel should never ever have apologized. In online racing, connections sometimes do fail. That’s part of the game.
Secondly, Marcel has been around sim racing for ages as one of the cornerstones of the community. Years ago, I did some races with Marcel in a league called the Benelux Endurance Series. The league faced a disconnection issue when swapping drivers.
And Marcel devoted much of his free time and knowledge to find a way around that issue. If there ever was a Plato in sim racing, it is Marcel Offermans.
And what kind of a world is sim racing becoming if we expect Plato to apologize to Brutus?